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A significant amount of evidence from different levels of analysis suggests that learning and memory function in the mammalian brain is organized into multiple systems.  Abnormalities in the relationships between these learning and memory systems are now thought to be responsible for a wide range of abnormal behaviour and psychiatric disorders found in humans.  Accordingly, basic scientific information about the functions of these various brain systems, how and when they interact with each other, and the underlying neurobiological mechanisms supporting these functions is critical if we are to understand normal and abnormal manifestations of behaviour in humans. Our work and that of others has started to unravel how these systems are different neuroanatomically and how the information they record from experience differs. This work has also shown that these different systems interact to produce thought and behaviour. The results of this and other work show how complex behaviours and cognition come to be adaptive or pathological as a result of genes, development, and experience.  For this talk, I will review a general theoretical perspective guiding my research on the organization of learning and memory in the mammalian brain. After highlighting the main components of this conceptual framework I will present several lines of evidence to support this view and address some future challenges.  Finally, I will show an application of these conceptualizations and methods to a rodent model of a psychiatric disorder.